An Appetite for Innovation

Agtech is tech solutions applied to the agri-food sector. As outlined in Agriculture 4.0: The Canadian Agtech Ecosystem, it’s important for several reasons:

  • Labour shortages and rising cost highlight the need for automation of manual farming techniques
  • Lack of high speed internet access and lagging digitization slows agtech advances 
  • Inefficient supply chains promote food waste.
  • Consumers increasingly demand lower carbon products and more-climate resilient practices

Cleantech in Alberta Research

Foresight Alberta surveyed the Province’s cleantech ventures in September 2020 in partnership with MaRS Data Catalyst and with support from the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Our survey received 73 responses from cleantech ventures headquartered in Alberta, representing roughly one-quarter of the 300 cleantech ventures we estimate were active in the Province last Fall. Survey questions covered company stage and enabling technologies, capital and revenues, key target markets and sectors, and founder team demographics.

A full report on the outcomes will be released later this year, building on previous Alberta cleantech sector reports in 2017 and 2019

Cleantech in Alberta Research

A number of survey findings point to the growing importance of agtech in Alberta.


of Alberta’s cleantech ventures are in agtech


patents secured by 13 agtech ventures who responded


of agtech founders are first-time founders; 25% are new Canadians


agtech ventures reported raising a total of $7.4M in capital in 2019 (average raise: $1,059,000)

$1 = $12

each dollar of public investment mobilized $12 in private investment, compared to $2.73 for the wider cleantech sector.


of agtech ventures had revenue in 2019 with 60% of revenue coming from the US

Barriers to Growth

The most significant immediate barriers to growth were identified as:

  • Securing working capital to cover payroll and operating expenses
  • Securing project financing
  • Securing growth capital including for marketing and export.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Limitations on international business activity 
  • Travel restrictions impeded customer relationships and investment deals – 46% of ventures reported reduced revenues year over year
  • Lost opportunity with Investment deals, with nearly two-thirds losing private debt or equity investment deals as a result of the pandemic

Shifting Focus

In response to the pandemic, most ventures shifted focus and implemented new virtual practices. Many began targeting new geographic or industrial sector markets and new R&D directions. Close to one-third, 30%, reported receiving pandemic-specific relief from the Canada Emergency Business Account program (CEBA).

The most significant longer term barriers to growth according to Alberta’s cleantech companies are:

  • Securing growth capital including for marketing and export
  • Financing commercial pilots and proving technology at commercial scale.


Each dollar of public funding mobilized a reported $12 in private investment during this period. $6.6M in private capital was raised by Alberta agtech ventures in 2019, matched by $542,000 of federal and provincial government funding. This indicates additional public funding would generate a significant increase in private investment. 

The survey reinforced the need to foster collaboration across the supply chain to encourage knowledge sharing, problem solving and resource sharing. Leveraging energy-related knowledge in the province will lead to better support for sustainable agtech. 

Agtech Venture Spotlights





Livestock Water Recycling
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Livestock Water Recycling works with farms around the world to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, concentrate and segregate nutrients for strategic fertilizer application, and recycle clean, reusable water.

  • Developed a multi-patented, award winning waste-to-worth approach to on-farm manure treatment
  • Ranked 31st on the FoodTech 500 (the highest ranking Canadian agrifood tech company)

Learn more at



Questor Technology
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Questor Technology is an international environmental oilfield service company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta with a field office in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Questor manufactures and services high efficiency waste gas incinerator systems, provides combustion and burner-related oilfield services as well as power generation systems.

  • The first ETV-certified clean combustion company in the world

Learn more at

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